Digital Vibes Saga: Special Investigating Unit To Freeze R22m in Funds

Digital Vibes Saga: Special Investigating Unit To Freeze R22m in Funds

  • The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) confirmed it received an order to freeze R22 million in funds across bank and investment accounts linked to Digital Vibes
  • The move comes as the communications agency finds itself embroiled in a scandal for the irregular procurement of Covid-19 communication services from the health department
  • The SIU said it will approach the Special Tribunal to have the Covid-19 media campaign contract irregularly awarded declared unlawful

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been given the green light to freeze R22 million in bank accounts linked to Digital Vibes.

The order goes on to include funds held in bank and investments accounts owned or controlled by other entities linked to the communications company after it was awarded a multimillion-rand contract by the National Department of Health headed by Dr Zweli Mkhize.

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Digital Vibes, Special Investigating Unit, SIU, Zweli Mkhize, Department of Health, Investigation
Digital Vibes, a company linked to suspended health minister Zweli Mkhize's close former associates, will see R22m in bank accounts frozen. Images: Sharon Seretlo, Darren Stewart/ Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

All this stems from allegations of unlawful or irregular procurement of Covid-19 communication services by the health department. TimesLIVE reported that the order was passed by the Special Tribunal on Thursday last week.

"The SIU approached the Special Tribunal for a preservation order/ interdict to freeze the accounts following an investigation into allegations of unlawful and/or irregular procurement of Covid-19 communication services by the department," SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago was quoted saying.

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According to News24, the SIU on Wednesday said it would now approach the Special Tribunal to seek an "order against Digital Vibes and other relevant entities or individuals, to pay back all financial losses suffered by the State".

The statement added that a probe into the contract that was awarded was ongoing with preliminary investigations revealing clear evidence exposing two highly irregular and unlawful transactions.

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"The first transaction is a procurement process in 2019 in terms of which Digital Vibes was appointed to perform communications services relating to the [NHI]."
"The second transaction occurred in 2020 during the tenure of the first transaction when Digital Vibes was 'appointed' in respect of a Covid-19 awareness campaign, without any competitive bidding or other procurement processes at all," the statement continued.

Zweli Mkhize denies reports that he blamed Ramaphosa for probe

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize denied reports that meetings were held with African National Congress leaders over the Digital Vibes saga. He also denied allegations that he blamed the president for trying to push potential presidential contenders out.

Reports say that the minister denied that he addressed members of the ANC in Pietermaritzburg about him allegedly running for ANC presidency. Briefly News recently reported that Health Minister Mkhize stated that he had not spoken about being 'targetted' for the aforementioned reasons.

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A media publication reported earlier this month that an insider who attended the meeting revealed that Mkhize was allegedly attempting to gain support within the ANC.

According to TimesLIVE, the publication that shared the news about the insider, Mkhize is under pressure following the issues with Digital Vibes, a business run by the minister's close associates, Tahera Mather and Naddhira Mitha.

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